Creative Hero

You would be in very safe territory to assume that I’ve never, ever, written anything having to do with sports – until today. My inspiration … Chris Borland, who at age 24, after one season playing professional football for the San Francisco 49ers, retired due to concerns about his long term health. It’s “not worth the risk.” he said in reference to the the substantial chances of permanent brain injury and disease faced by professional football players.

Chris BorlandThe chutzpah (nerve) in making such a dramatic U-turn so early in such a high profile career is nothing short of astonishing and dramatically caught my attention.

So what does any of this have to do with art or creativity?

It took me several years to hone my one line artist’s statement and I believe it to my core:
“Art is there to remind us that we can think for ourselves.”

It takes a load of courage to be creative.It can be mighty tough, sometimes intolerable to absorb ridicule or even anticipated ridicule from peers and superiors. But creativity requires courage, often a great deal of courage. If creative ideas are to truly be creative, new and different, someone has to have the nerve to venture out and take a chance, stick their neck out and be willing to take the heat if need be. It’s a lot easier said than done and it’s the path artists (and creative thinkers in any domain) face when exploring new, often unpopular and uncharted territory.

A couple of paragraphs from my book, “The Art of Mistakes” speak directly to this point:

Creative thinkers, whether they be artists or not, are willing to fight conformity – and – are willing to take on the continuing need to re-evaluate what defines conformism. They don’t need a degree in anything from anywhere to do that – they just have to believe in their gut that it’s what they must do.

In the most fundamental sense, the role of the creative person/artist is to question the status quo with their creative output. This might be the work of a visual artist, a musician, an actor, a writer … OR … it could just as easily be a chef who finds a new way to make grilled cheese or a surgeon who develops a new approach to a procedure.

Rothschild scarf design

In this case, Olympian sized laurels for creative thinking belong proudly on the healthy head, of this stunningly brave man.

by Melanie Rothschild

author of The Art of Mistakes

The Art of Mistakes cover

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Creativity in the Least Expected Places

Bear with me on this for just a minute.

I had a stunning encounter with creativity while paying my credit card bill this month – and it was all 100% legal and legit.

quote from The Art of Mistakes

I had to handle the payment over the phone due to some unusual events. I was dreading making the call . . . the excruciating details I’d have to explain, probably to be misunderstood over and over. Good chance there’d be a tussle. Certain that it would drain me.

Serendipity connected me with Teresa. Well, here we go – time to hunker down.

I couldn’t be totally sure, but early on in the telling of my saga to Teresa, I thought she may have made a little joke. It couldn’t be; that was usually the sort of thing I sometimes tried to do to infuse just a bit of humanness into the mix.

“What?” I asked.

Yup, sure enough, Teresa made a little comment, with just a tinge of snide in it, something along the lines of . . . “I’ve been waiting to talk with you all morning.” It got my attention and immediately made me chuckle.

Wow, I thought – they never do that.

Well, Teresa did. She also listened to what I had to say. And then, in the most cheerful and buoyant style I’ve ever experienced with telephone customer service, she explained how everything could be resolved … painlessly.

I told her that I was amazed and that I’d never encountered anyone like her on the other end of the credit card “help” line.

And then, Teresa treated me to her most inspiring perspective. She said that she loves her job. She is thrilled every single time she gets a customer on the phone who’s expecting the worse and she’s able to turn it around and win them over. She told me that she had recently gotten out of a toxic marriage and that her job made her feel alive and vibrant in the world. I asked if I could talk to her supervisor to express my astonishment and delight at having encountered her. When I spoke with the supervisor, he echoed my amazement and said that he gets comments like mine all the time and that she stuns people on a regular basis.


The whole situation simply delighted me. Teresa at Chase reminded me just how true it is that creativity can be expressed in endless ways.

I like to think that artists have particularly well-developed creative muscle which can be applied in all sorts of directions. I don’t know if Teresa is an artist or not, but she sure lives like one.

by Melanie Rothschild

author of The Art of Mistakes

The Art of Mistakes cover

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